Family Evening Soirée…

Today was the first time we had a family dinner, with everyone present, eating at the same time and in the same place for a long long time…..

Family time is so precious and hard to come by in this busy hectic world, that its a nice feeling when we all manage to get together. So with that said and although I ‘m still not feeling myself after my surgery, I still found some strength to put together a tasty meal and a little sweet treat which we enjoyed whilst chatting , having a drink and catching up!

thumb_DSC05022_1024

I started by preparing the little sweet treat which was inspired by 2 lovely huge pomegranates that were sitting on the counter without a purpose. I cut them open, took the lovely juicy seeds out and put them to the side.

thumb_DSC05017_1024

Then I melted some milk chocolate (preferred over dark chocolate in our home) and then put to good use my handy dandy Pampered Chef herb gadget, which obviously was not used to store/freeze herbs 🙂

I filled 1/3 of each cavity with the melted milk chocolate, then spooned in some pomegranate seeds and then topped it off with more melted chocolate and into the fridge they went.

I still had some chocolate and pomegranate seeds left, so I mixed them up and plop them on some wax paper into clusters and they also went straight into the fridge.

Then I pulled out some lovely skirt steak, seasoned it well and let it rest a bit before it went onto the grill.

thumb_DSC05033_1024

I did mention that I am still recovering from surgery, which is my excuse of using a few ready prepared sides to stop me from standing too long in the kitchen.

I had been to Trader Joe’s and found some frozen Asparagus Risotto which turned out to be pretty good but next time I need to doctor it with a little extra salt, some black pepper and maybe a dash of cayenne pepper and fresh parmesan cheese to give it a little umpf if you know what I mean.

thumb_DSC05027_1024

I also bought at Trader Joe’s a Greek Spinach Spanakopita tart which again wasn’t too bad but I have to say that I prefer my home made Pascualina which is a Uruguayan version of the Greek Spinach Pie. No feta cheese is used in the Uruguayan one but its so much tastier, or so I think of course…..

Evening was greatly relaxing, ate, drank, chatted and caught up with Mama Gaye whilst also enjoying the company of by busy teenage kids and hubby, oh and let me not forget the cats that of course made sure we knew they were there ❤

thumb_DSC05036_1024

After dinner we got to enjoy the lovely sweet treats that ended up being a big hit so they for sure will be part of future menus…..

 

Lamb Kebabs and Tzatziki Sauce

Tonight I was in the mood for a little Middle Eastern food mixed with a little bit of  Greek.  Sounded like the perfect combination 🙂

For the Lamb Kebabs I used:

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1lb lamb mince
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2oz fresh chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped up
  • 4 green chillies de-seeded and chopped
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns (crushed)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger or 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp salt

DSC04654

I started off mixing my minced lamb and lemon juice and put that to the side.

DSC04656

Then I added the rest of the ingredients to my mini food processor and whizzed away until they were nicely blended and then added that concoction to my lamb.

DSC04657

Out came the skewers and with wet hands I skewered the meat into long sausage shapes. Rotate the meat around the skewer, pressing gently all round and place on a baking pan. Brush each kebab lightly with some oil.

DSC04658

These of course can be grilled on a BBQ or cooked in the oven. I placed mine under the broiler in the oven on high setting for about 10 minutes on each side.

Whilst they were cooking I stared working on my Tzatziki sauce.

For this I used:

  • 3 cups of greek yogurt
  • 3 tbs of lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 large english cucumber (long and skinny ones)
  • 1/2 tbs chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 tbs chopped fresh dill

Peel cucumber, remove seeds and cube, then place in food processor with the lemon juice, garlic, mint and dill and combine them together nicely. I then placed the mixture in a colander and squeezed all the excess water out of it.

DSC04663

Add mixture to yogurt and add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

DSC04662

By now my kebabs were ready, I toasted some Smart Pockets (they are like a healthy version of Pita Bread, stuffed them with a few of the lamb kebabs, added some Tzatziki sauce and it was totally and utterly heavenly! The cooling and refreshing sauce worked wonders with the full flavored, slightly spicy kebabs ❤

DSC04666

Freezer Diving

Sunday morning, sky not happy, looks like it will be yet another rainy day in steamy hot South Florida.

I find that these kind of days are great to do the kind of stuff that you hate to do when you could be sitting by the pool sipping a cocktail 🙂

I decided that enough time has gone by since my last Freezer Diving and OMG, the treasures I found that I didn’t know I had.

DSC03873

Either I was on a spinach kick, or I cancelled some kind of spinach project or maybe they was just a buy 2 for the price of 1 offer, but I found that I had way too much frozen spinach.

Luckily I also found a box of Puff Pastry that once again, I have no idea why I bought it!

Spinach + Puff Pastry spells out – PASCUALINA which translates to Spinach Pie. Of course I had to do it with an Andy twist for various reasons.

DSC03875

First my son won’t eat eggs so I left out the traditional hard boiled eggs, and then I added a lot of spices that are not part of the original recipe.

So the long of short of it is, that I still call it Pascualina but the taste is nowhere near it. Pascualina has a clean simple taste to it and my version is full of Chinese five spice, red pepper flakes, red curry powder, dash of soy sauce and goodness knows what else I added…..

DSC03877

There is a Greek version of this dish called Spanakopita which is very similar and full of spinach yumminess made with Phyllo pastry and ricotta and feta cheese!

If you know me well enough, I follow a recipe the first time round and then I change it to tickle my taste buds in different ways. As long as you follow the main basics, the rest is up to your imagination!

Once I had my spinach concoction tasting the right way, I placed one of the puff pastry sheets at the bottom of my pan….

DSC03880

topped it off with the spinach mixture….

DSC03881

and then placed the remaining puff pastry sheet on top  and gave it a quick brushing with and eggs and sugar mixture.

DSC03883

Into at 400 Deg F oven it went for about 40 minutes or until the puff pastry is nice and golden.

DSC03885

This dish can be eaten warm or cold, now its time to enjoy a some of it with the family.

DSC03907

Andy’s Greek Salad Wrap…..

Sweltering hot weather in South Florida calls for nice light, heathy, tasty and refreshing lunch that can be made in no time!

I went to Whole Foods this morning to buy a few special ingredients and got caught between the Cheese Section and the Olive Bar!

IMG_0110

We all know what happens when the Kalamata Olives meet the Feta Cheese in your trolley! Yes, Greek Salad it is!

My fridge always has Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Onions so the rest of it was easy……

IMG_0112

Chop up the Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Onions. A pet peeve I have is that in my salad everything has to be the perfect bite size and they all have to be slightly the same size! For this I have to thank a wonderful boss I had “Sally Cruickshank” whilst working in a Pub in London “The White Horse on Parsons Green“. She would always say, “Don’t be silly, nobody wants to have to cut their salad”!

Anyway, back to my salad…..

Tossed the tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in a bowl, added the cubed Feta Cheese, Calamata Olives, some chopped Cilantro, a nice drizzle of olive oil and vinegar, a squeeze of lime and salt and pepper to taste.

IMG_0121

I crisped up a Low Carb Tortilla and then topped it with some of my lovely Greek Salad for a finger licking, deliciously refreshing Greek Salad wrap!

IMG_0116